Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Government Needs To Blaze The Trail On Living Wage

14 February 2013

Government Needs To Blaze The Trail On Living Wage

The Public Service Association is calling on the government, as the country’s largest employer and funder of public services, to take the lead and provide a living wage to workers.

The Living Wage campaign is calling for wage rates which families can realistically live on, which it calculates to be $18.40 an hour.

The PSA represents 58,000 workers in the public and state sectors, district health boards, local government and community public services.

It estimates about 16 percent of its members, mainly women, are not earning a living wage.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says “there is a perception that public sector workers and those in DHBs and local government earn decent wages, but we have thousands of members such as librarians, DHB clerical and administration staff, public service workers, call centre employees and a raft of others who are earning less than $18.40 an hour.”

“They are on a low wage treadmill – battling higher housing, food and living costs while at the same time being offered minimal or zero percent pay increases.”

“It’s a case of public sector budget cuts translating into household budget cuts with many state sector agencies refusing to negotiate pay or across-the-board increases for staff as part of collective agreements,” he says.

Chronic underfunding of many community public services is also denying thousands of people such as home support and disability support workers a living wage.

Richard Wagstaff says a living wage would make a huge difference to these workers who put in long hours and provide high levels of professional care, yet earn minimum wages.

The PSA also believes any additional costs to the government in providing a living wage could be partially offset by the savings it could make.

“If workers are given an opportunity to earn a living wage, they would not have to rely so heavily on government benefits such as Working for Families and accommodation allowances. Providing a living wage should be seen as a valuable investment for everyone and one which will go some way towards narrowing the increasing gap between rich and poor,” says Mr Wagstaff.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news